It is strange to look at my daily articles and realize that in a week I will be on Day 400 of this incredible journey to transition down from morbid obesity to – hopefully – the slim and sexy me that I have never known as an adult. After posting my article on the blog yesterday I got a notification that I was on a 165-day streak… and I know that really that streak would be 393 days if I had not been distracted one day in September. Streaks aside, this journal (and my blog) now comprise just under 360,000 words. To put that into perspective, Dickens’ Great Expectations ran 183,300 words. Fortunately, I have not risen to the sheer long-windedness of Tolstoy, who’s War and Peace ran 587,287 words. (I should mention that his Anna Karenina was only 349,736 words, which I have recently surpassed) I will continue to write my thoughts and feelings and experience until I get to the end of my journey. Twice now I have started, and then finished in failure. My final chapter of this work should be an epilogue outlining my long-term success at maintaining my thinnest self.
I wrote a couple of days ago (after the salsa and chips debacle) about the terrible comparative number between that day (Monday) and July 31, 2020. For those who are not keeping track: On February 3rd I realized that I was within 25 lbs. of my best weight ever, which I achieved in 2020. I looked at the data from that time frame and realized that it on July 21, 2020, I weighed the same as I did that day. I created a spreadsheet to compare my journey then to now. Monday morning (Day 11), the comparison to 2020 jumped to 6.8 lbs. more than the same day last time. Yesterday morning, after only a slight drop this time (but a huge jump in 2020) it was down to 2.6 lbs. This morning, following yet another jump from 2020, it was -1.8 lbs.! That means that this morning is the first day that I am further ahead in my progress toward my best-weight-ever than I was in 2020! It is very exciting, but I only wish that it was more due to the excellent and consistent weight loss progress that I have made this time around, and less because of the terrible 2-day, 7.2 lbs. jump I made in 2020.
It is important to note that in 2020, I had a very stressful few days that led to my gaining that 7.2 lbs. in two days. The first of those days was mostly because I visited with a friend, and he put out too many temptations… and I had left the house without my meal replacements (which is always a terrible idea). The following day was my marathon turnaround trip from California to Vancouver and back to renew my TN Visa. It was an extremely stressful couple of days, because I was not sure that they would renew the visa… and I remember thinking that my new job depended on that. If I knew then what I know now – that the company that hired me and sent me to Canada to renew the visa would be a waste of my time – then maybe things would have been different. Oh well, life goes on. That is the past, and today I weigh 1.8 lbs. pounds less than I did during those turbulent times. I will continue to do my best to get to that best-weight-ever space… and to stay there once and for all.
I did go out for a jog yesterday. I did not improve on my 3km jogging distance (as I wrote that I hoped to do), but I did improve on the pace. I got it down to 8m06s per kilometre. I also cut nearly 30 seconds off my walking pace, down from yesterday’s 10m54s to 10m25s per kilometre today. My walking pace was still better on Saturday, but I am just happy that I am getting out again. These next two weeks I have to get as much exercise in as I can, knowing that the following week I will be back to thirteen-hour days. I did make one minor change to the route yesterday… I did it backwards. The distance is no different, but I get a different perspective on things.
I had an absolutely lovely date with my wife last night. Truly, the only thing that was wrong with it was that we were 1,400 miles apart. We sat out on our balconies with an absolutely fabulous cigar (She smoked her favourite Davidoff Especiale 7, while I smoked another of our mutual favourites, the Davidoff Small Batch Verano). Midway through our cigars she started lamenting what to do for dinner, and I surprised her by buying her the same Chinese meal we shared last month. Okay, I did not exactly… but I asked her if I could buy her dinner, and I transferred the money to her so that she could have her wonderful soup and Peking Duck Spring Rolls… and leftovers for a couple of days. As she ate, I took HRF Princess Sophie out for another walk. We then selected another fine cigar (I chose the very spicy Davidoff Nicaragua, and insisted she enjoy the Davidoff Chef Edition 2016). Truly, the only way the evening could have gone better was if we were together on one balcony, and if we did not need technology to keep us together.
As I drove recently, I noticed the Harvey’s Hamburgers joint near the corner of Appleby Line and Upper Middle. I thought to myself how nice it would be to stop in at the drive-thru and pick up a burger. I was not even thinking about the sides, I just had this image of the hamburger. Memories of my father taking my sister and I as kids to the Harvey’s on Cote des Neiges Road in Montreal came to mind, how wonderful those times were. My father was a grown-up after all… he was not supposed to like fast food, was he? Yet that was where he would take us. I do not remember the last time I ate at a Harvey’s, but I do know that they changed their ingredients, and the juicy burgers I remembered from my childhood are no longer as good… but they are still not bad. What would be the harm in having one? I then remembered the hardship of losing all of this weight, and I remembered my goals for March 2 (my visit to the tailor) and March 9 (my visit to Leslie), and I kept driving. On Day 9 I write an article called Temptations and Cravings in which I wrote about the addictive effects of fast food. I called out Harvey’s by name, as well as several other chains. It is not only that their food is good and convenient, and in the case of Harvey’s, it is not only that these chains have spent billions of dollars sorting out the psychology of getting you back into their restaurants. In this case, and on this day, it was also because of the childhood memory of my deceased father that tried to draw me in. Now that I think of it, while he loved Harvey’s (and Chinese food), it was my mother who forced me to learn to enjoy Buffalo wings, originally at a restaurant called Wings and Things on Sherbrooke Street. I loved my parents (and still have fond memories of my father), but some of their food influences would come to haunt me… and do, to this day.
I want to reiterate that I am a fifty-year-old man, and I am not blaming my obesity on my parents… or on the fast-food industry, or on anyone else but myself. It is too easy to blame others for our problems, which then makes them easily explained and understood, and thus less important to face and deal with. I gained my weight because of myriad factors, some of them from my childhood, some from my schools, some from the Army, and some because of bad influences from friends. Those are all factors in my weight gain. Not one of them is the cause of my obesity. If I was not smart enough, strong enough, or stable enough to understand that every time I had to buy pants or shirts, I needed to buy larger ones, then unless any of the factors were paying for my larger clothes, it was on me to stop eating as much… and as poorly. In 1994 I fell in love with a song by The Eagles called Get Over It. They sing about how everyone is blaming their parents, their childhoods, their whatever. “They point their crooked little fingers at everybody else, spend all their times feeling sorry for themselves. Victim of this, victim of that; your momma’s too thin and your daddy’s too fat. Get over it!” How true are these words? I have a lot of emotional traumas from my childhood and from my time in the Army, and they are things that haunt me every time I close my eyes. I can blame those for everything in my life… or I can live my life the best way I know how.
In the movie Stripes, John Candy’s character says that he joined the Army to lose weight (by the way, that’s a stupid reason to join the Army, but it was a comedy and I digress). He said that his doctor told him he swallowed a lot of emotions… along with a lot of cheeseburgers. I probably first saw the movie with my sister when I was 11-12 years old, and I thought it was funny at the time. I know now that swallowing your emotions can be painful… but it was swallowing the cheeseburgers (along with all of the other terrible foods I ate) that got me to where I am now. Like I said about the hot towel shave yesterday, they may be the occasional indulgence… but I will never be able to afford for them to be the norm. My future is one of eating healthy and smart… and trying to stay healthy and slim.
My plan for today is to stay on track. I am driving to Cambridge shortly to enjoy some cigars with Ryan (and possibly with Lyle). Both of them suffer from obesity, and both of them are aware (and sensitive) of my weight loss journey. While there will be plenty of snacks there for the taking, nothing will be offered to me, and nobody will try to convince me to just east a little. I will stay on the program, mixing my meal replacement shake at 1:00pm between cigars. While Ryan’s dad might try to convince me to stay for dinner, I have a perfect (and unarguable) excuse… I am teaching this evening and I have to be home by 5:00pm. As soon as I get home, I will enjoy my third meal replacement of the day, and I will spin up my computer to teach my class, ending the evening with my final meal replacement. I can stay on track if I just remain mindful and focused. I will not be getting a lot of exercise today… but tomorrow I will be back at it. I know the weather today would have been ideal for a jog, but I promised Ryan a week ago I’d come over; tomorrow’s forecast calls for rain and a high of 3°, which means that if I do want to keep it up then I will be in the gym. At least that means I can finish my workout with a hydro massage and a sauna! Friday the weather gets worse, but then over the weekend it will be warmer and sunny. A couple of days in the gym, followed by a couple of days jogging outside; that is just what the doctor ordered.
The bathroom scale this morning had me almost (but not quite) back to my best weight yet, leaving me .2 lb. short of what I weighed Sunday morning before the Great Nacho Chips and Salsa Incident of 2023. I do not know if I will be back in BWY territory by tomorrow, but I will cross my fingers and hope that all of my efforts will get me there. If I keep up my recent progress (which likely means not only the full-fast program, but also the intense working out) then it is possible and even likely that I will shatter the goals that I set less than a week ago… and so, let me revise them to see if I can push myself even harder to achieve them:
- By March 2 (the day I go to the tailor) I would like to weigh under 275 lbs. so if I can lose 6.5 pounds in just over two weeks I will be there.
- By March 9 (the day I fly to Dallas) I would like to weigh under 270 lbs. so that I can at least have another noticeable difference when Leslie sees me.
- During my ten-day trip to Dallas (during which I will be back on my modified program) I would like to gain no more than two pounds.
I should mention as well that there is another milestone coming up. While my best weight ever was 260.4 lbs., on my first attempt in 2017 my best weight was 272.4 lbs… which means that if I can get to that weight by the time I get to Dallas, Leslie will see me in a way that few have ever seen me!
Okay, I am just running on. Have a great day folks!
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